Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Junk? Don't You Know A Rare Masonic Treasure When You See One?

It always starts the same way:
Valerie: Come get your junk off the table!
Todd: That's not junk!  Those are rare Masonic treasures!
Valerie:  If they are so rare, why have they been on the table for a week.  Either move them, or they will be lost to history forever.
One man's trash is another man's treasure.  I know a lot of Masons that collect, and to most people, those objects they hold near and dear would look like what's left on the table on the last day of a flea market.

I've got a pretty impressive collection--everything from lapel pins to old shrine fezzes.  I have a few nice pieces, but most of it falls into the category of memorabilia.  The fun part of collecting, is that sometimes I run into things that baffle me. 

Case in point, my dad found this little pin in a garage sale or somewhere.  He gave it to me.  I had no idea what in the world it was.  It obviously had some age on it.  It was made from stamped metal.  It is about 2 inches wide with an old fashioned pin back (as if it was meant to be worn on a lapel).  What was odd was the chain.  It has about a eighteen inches of very fine chain that pulls out and recoils like a tape measure.  I was baffled.

It was too small, and the chain too fine to be for keys.  Somebody wondered if it might be some kind of tie chain thing from the past.  Another suggested it might be for a name tag of some kind or I.D.  None of that sounded right--so I opened it up by posting a picture of it on Facebook.  I had my answer in ten minutes.
What in the world is this?
It is a chain retractor for a pinc-nez!  The guy that identified it even sent a picture of one very similar to the one I have.  You would attach this to your eyeglasses, so if they fell, or if you weren't wearing them, they'd hang from your lapel ready for use.  That's exactly what it is. 

Pinc-nez with chain retractor
So every once in awhile, I do run across something interesting, and I wind up learning something.  And every so often, I miss the obvious.  For instance, some years ago, I discovered this beautiful ceramic wall hanging in an antique shop. I bought it, and I've had it hanging on the wall of my office at home for years.  Somebody finally asked me why I had an ashtray hanging on my wall.  I had a little closer look at it.  That's exactly what it is.  However, I still like it better hanging on the wall, so that's where it stays.

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

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